ECBC steps up to support DOD engineering, production initiatives
Over the past two years, senior officials from the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense, or JPEO-CBD, and the Army Materiel Command sought ways to increase efficiency and reduce cost within the nation’s chemical-biological enterprise.
The organizations have called upon the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, or ECBC, the technical arm for the nation’s non-medical chemical and biological defense, to provide its test, development and sustainment expertise to support these efforts and ensure our military’s capability remains unmatched.
“Chemical and biological defense is a niche commodity area in the DOD and takes an enterprise to sustain,” said Michael Abaie, director of engineering for ECBC. “All of us must come together, collaborate, put our strengths and talents to their best use, and do everything we can to ensure the readiness of our Warfighters.”
One way to increase efficiency and reduce costs is by establishing a single organization to support the majority of the chemical and biological defense products under the JPEO, including detectors, protective masks, shelters and decontamination equipment. The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Life Cycle Management Command, will serve in this role to assist JPEO-CBD in managing logistics, forecasting product demand and providing a high level of readiness, while minimizing the cost of sustainment across the entire DOD.
To complement this effort, ECBC leadership is working to have the center formally recognized as the engineering support activity for TACOM-managed equipment. As such, ECBC will serve as the focal point for engineering and technical solutions in much the same way that TACOM will serve as the focal point for the JPEO-CBD’s product support strategy.
“ECBC is perfectly positioned to be the engineering support integrator for TACOM-managed systems,” said Associate Engineering Director, Kevin Lee. “ECBC has a long-term relationship with TACOM that we can build on, and merge our respective areas of expertise to provide the JPEO the best process to sustain and maintain the readiness of chemical and biological defense equipment.”
Another initiative aims to strengthen the organic industrial base of the chemical biological defense enterprise by enhancing production and depot operations at the Army’s Pine Bluff Arsenal.
The ECBC Engineering Directorate has been tapped by senior DOD and AMC leaders to provide product design, test, engineering and sustainment expertise in support of Pine Bluff Arsenal’s capability to produce chemical and biological defense products, such as large collective protection filters, on demand.
ECBC has decades of subject matter expertise that it will lend to Pine Bluff Arsenal to help make this effort successful.
The center has more than 70 years of experience in development, testing, application and sustainment of collective protection systems, which can be used in fixed-site applications, such as buildings, or in mobile applications, such as vehicles or aircraft.
The center’s Engineering Directorate has also provided Pine Bluff Arsenal with advice on production engineering, quality assurance and industrial base support.
“Our technical experts are prepared to support this effort when called upon,” said Lowry Brooks, engineering associate director. “It is an opportunity to sharpen our technical chops, as well as strengthen our partnership with Pine Bluff Arsenal for the benefit of our Warfighters.”
The effort was discussed in detail at Pine Bluff Arsenal’s Home-on-Home event held on Nov. 30, 2016. The meeting brought together more than 90 leaders from the chemical biological defense engineering, sustainment, logistics and acquisition communities.
The participants discussed the arsenal’s strategy and capabilities, and how they will be supported by the chemical and biological defense community to advance the overall strategies of the Chemical Biological Defense Program.
“We are advocating ECBC’s role as a key enabler of these strategies,” said Brooks. “We can help Pine Bluff Arsenal be successful and do what they do best by partnering with them and having us do what we do best―commodity expertise, design, test, rapid prototyping and sustainment. This will serve as a model for many other chemical biological defense programs the center has the legacy knowledge and expertise to support.”
The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center is a part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities for decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the Joint Warfighter and the Nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Material Command.